Many accidents occur because of driver negligence. Numerous other collisions can be attributed to poor roadway conditions, such as icy roads or potholes. The City of Toronto is legally obligated to keep public streets at a minimum level of safety to decrease the likelihood of accidents and injuries.
An injured victim may have the right to hold certain municipal parities liable in a car accident claim stemming from poorly maintained roads. Any such negligence claim will hinge on proving the City of Toronto neglected to adhere to the Minimum Maintenance Standards for Highways in the City of Toronto.
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An Overview of Toronto’s Minimum Maintenance Standards
The city’s Minimum Maintenance Standards are established in Ontario Regulation 612/06. This act outlines the minimum standards of care and upkeep for all highways under the jurisdiction of the City of Toronto.
Safety issues addressed in the Minimum Maintenance Standards include:
- ice on roadways;
- snow accumulation;
- monitoring of weather conditions and weather-related hazards;
- the frequency of patrols to “check up” on roadway conditions;
- shoulder drop-offs;
- roadway debris;
- street and highway lights;
- signage (including regulatory and warning signs);
- traffic signals;
- conditions of bridges and overpasses;
- roadway surface conditions and quality; and
- sidewalk conditions.
The law divides highways into six different categories based on the annual daily volume of traffic and posted speed limit. The required level of care depends on the classification of the highway.
Some safety hazards are addressed via charts and graphs, making it relatively easy to identify when officials have deviated from standard protocol. For instance, according to the provided table, a snow accumulation of 2.5 centimeters must be cleared from a Class 1 highway within four hours, while safety officials have as much as 24 hours to clear 10 centimeters of snow accumulation from a Class 5 highway.
Meanwhile, other guidelines are left open to interpretation. For example, the removal of roadway debris is regulated by a missive that states officials must, “deploy resources, as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the fact.”
How Minimum Maintenance Standards Factor into Your Claim
Victims wishing to seek compensation from the City of Toronto must prove the city failed to meet the Minimum Maintenance Standards. This can be a considerable challenge in cases where established standards are not particularly high. However, past court decisions have shown that meeting the Minimum Maintenance Standards does not absolve the city of liability in the event of negligence. There are strict notice requirements prior to initiating a lawsuit and as such, notice in writing must be provided to the municipality within the specified time period of 10 days from the date of the accident.
Bear in mind, you are entitled to Ontario’s statutory Accident Benefits in the event of a motor vehicle accident. This is true, regardless of who caused the accident – compensation is available even if you cannot prove the City of Toronto was to blame for your accident. Take advantage of a free case consultation with the Preszler Law Firm for help applying for Accident Benefits and to learn if you have grounds for filing a tort claim against a government entity. Call 1-800-JUSTICE®.